Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal

by Women's Global Education Project
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal

Women's Global Education Project strives to support our scholars every step of the way through school. We have worked to indentify key turning points where girls are most at risk of dropping out due to a lack of economic, social, or cultural support, and we intervene with locally developed services to help them thrive and stay in school.

So what happens when a WGEP scholar finishes high school? Well, we have an intervention for that, too.

Our Sisters to School Senegal program will soon be holding a panel on higher education for scholars who have recently graduated. 78 of our scholars will participate in this information session where they will hear from government officials, female professionals and local women leaders about options for higher education, vocational studies and receive general guidance on options for their future.

The government of Senegal has recently introduced a new online platform for high school graduates to apply to public universities. In Senegal, public universities are free for all students who qualify, and the government even pays for 1 year of private university. The government official participating in WGEP's upcoming panel will walk the girls through the process of registering on this platform, with our staff facilitating this process afterward with the young women.

Thanks to the holistic support they receive from our local staff in Senegal, our scholars once again performed much higher academically than most other students in the region this last school year. 61% of our scholars in their final year of high school passed the national exams. Although the regional passing rate in Fatick has not yet been announced for this year, in past years it has been around 34%. WGEP scholars frequently express how much tutoring, psychological counseling, and the other support they receive has helped them succeed on these high-pressure exams.

Thanks to supporters like you, together, we are showing girls that their futures are full of possibilities!

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A scholar addresses the crowd of 300 people.
A scholar addresses the crowd of 300 people.

Have you ever felt like your entire future was riding on one test? Maybe before you took the ACT, SAT, the Bar, MCAT, or another big exam? So nerve-racking! Did you get a tutor, or try to go at it alone?

WGEP scholars in Senegal are in their final year of middle school, and are currently getting ready to take an important exam like that--they must pass in oder to proceed to high school. This is a time when many girls drop out of school, particularly if they fail the exam. Parents often decide to keep them out of school, and girls frequently end up marrying early.

That's why we are doing everything we can to make sure these determined young women have everything they need to succeed.

In May, we held a village-based community meeting in Sadgioga. These meetings are a critical part of WGEP’s grassroots approach where we engage directly with parents, village and religious leaders on the importance of educating girls. Over 300 people attended this meeting, and several of our scholars spoke.

The girls told the community members gathered how our tutoring intervention has given them the extra confidence and reinforcement that they need to pass exams. Although the academic year is not yet over, with the exams approaching, the girls expressed confidence in their ability to pass and move on to high school. These girls have worked so hard, and they are an insipiration to their whole community!

Want to help us tutor more middle school girls so that they can stay in school despite pressure to drop out? Consider donating again--we couldn't do this without you. As always, thank you so much for your ongoing support!

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WGEP has worked in the Fatick region of rural Senegal since 2004 to implement locally-driven, holistic and multi-tiered strategies that address the complex issue of girls’ access to education. One of our programs, Our Sisters Read, focuses on improving foundational reading skills, motivating students to read, and promoting literacy in the community. To date, over 10,000 students have participated in WGEP's locally-driven reading activities in Senegal!

But a love of learning shouldn't be contained to schools or community centers. Curious students need resources and enthusiastic encouragement from their families to continue reading at home, too. Bridging the home-school gap with an emphasis on reading for pleasure will ultimately contribute to an enduring shift in attitudes towards literacy, and future generations--especially girls--will benefit from this shift.

In an independent evaluation of the Our Sisters Read program, 97% of parents surveyed reported that their opinion of the importance of reading changed positively during the program. These families reported that compared to before exposure to the program, they now:

  • Allow time for reading at home
  • Encourage children to borrow books
  • Ask children to read out loud with a sibling
  • Tell them they are a positive example
  • Reward them when they read

This feedback shows that even parents who can't read themselves genuinely value literacy and are sure to make time for their children to read at home. We are so grateful for these families and their participation in the focus group.

We look forward to growing this groundbreaking program, reaching even more families, and expanding this lifelong culture of reading--all thanks to advocates like you. Thank you for supporting WGEP's education programs in rural Senegal!

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WGEP Scholars
WGEP Scholars

Since 2004, WGEP has worked in rural Senegal to provide access to quality education and supplemental programs to empower women and girls to build better lives and foster equitable and sustainable communities. Recognizing that educating girls in marginalized and impoverished communities is a multi-faceted challenge, WGEP employs a holistic approach by involving entire communities and finding solutions for the varied contextual barriers that may keep girls from accessing an education.

As part of our support to help girls thrive in school, WGEP offers reproductive health education to lower incidences of teen pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Our targeted workshops and seminars inform scholars on a range of important topics including: anatomy, puberty & development, sexually transmitted infections, contraception and family planning, consent and decision-making.

This is important because 22% of women in Senegal give birth before the age of 18, with rural girls having a higher rate of teen pregnancy (25%) than their urban counterparts (12%) (DHS, 2012). Teen pregnancy is a major health and social concern because of its association with higher morbidity and mortality for both the mother & child. It also has other adverse social consequences, particularly for educational attainment, as women who become mothers in their teens are more likely to drop out of school. Comparatively, Senegal is a model in the control of HIV/AIDS among African countries. The national HIV rate has remained below 1% for over two decades. However, this success hides a stark geographical disparity in access to education and treatment: only 3 in 10 Senegalese women have a comprehensive understanding of HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS, 2010). 

Our reproductive health education workshops have proven greatly effective in expanding our scholar's base of knowledge. WGEP Senegal scholar Sadio said of the workshops: "I am so thankful for everything I learned. I now want to continue my education and become a nurse so that I can help the women of my village."

Thank you for supporting WGEP programs like our reproductive health workshops!

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WGEP Scholars after school
WGEP Scholars after school

Women's Global Education Project (WGEP) provides access to quality education and develops training programs that empower women and girls in rural Africa to build better lives and foster equitable and sustainable communities. Recognizing that educating girls in marginalized and impoverished communities is a multi-faceted challenge, WGEP takes a holistic approach by involving the communities and finding solutions for other contextual barriers that may keep girls from an education. By covering school fees and living expenses in addition to providing personal effects, mentoring and tutoring, we do all we can to ensure that our scholars can focus their energy on their studies.

One of the vital support services WGEP provides is partial scholarships. Partial scholarships cover tutoring costs and the books and supplies needed to help girls pass key grade-level exams. These partial scholarships are awarded to girls in rural Senegal, covering the costs of tutoring, books, and other supplies needed to help girls pass their exams and move

Over the years, we have seen their strong positive effects of our partial scholarships. In 2016, the most recent year for which results are available, 73% of our Senegalese elementary scholars passed their final exam, compared to 49.84% in the Fatick region where we work. Moreover, 79.63% of our Senegalese middle school scholars passed their grade-level exam, compared to a passing rate of 40.47% in the wider region. Finally, our high school scholars achieved a passing rate of 42.14%, compared to 30.29% in the Fatick region as a whole. Through these numbers, we can see the great positive impact of academic support programs such as our partial scholarship tutoring program.

Thank you for supporting WGEP's education programs in rural Senegal!

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Organization Information

Women's Global Education Project

Location: Oak Park, IL - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Amy Maglio
Founder
Oak Park, Illinois United States
$221,430 raised of $300,000 goal
 
1,705 donations
$78,570 to go
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